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5G opponents raise environmental fears

A cell tower with 5G mobile phone network equipment. (Photograph by F Muhammad/Pixabay)

Bermudians were urged to turn down fifth generation wireless technology at a forum organised by the group Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology.

5G is under a temporary moratorium imposed by the Regulatory Authority.

Public consultation will continue until December 7, with a decision on its deployment expected in February.

Eugene Dean, the host of Tuesday’s forum, and chairman of the environmental group Greenrock, thanked the RA for extending the consultation period, but added: “It’s just not enough.”

Panelists heard the technology was linked to health risks and environmental harm.

Mr Dean said the topic “requires further research and, most importantly, further conversation”.

The 90-minute presentation heard from David Wingate, a former government conservation officer, who likened the deployment of 5G to the DDT crisis after the pesticide was first thought to be safe.

Dr Wingate said DDT had been linked to the mysterious failure of Cahow eggs in Bermuda – findings that he shared at congressional hearings in the United States.

He told the meeting: “Listen seriously to those without vested interests, who are prepared to run against the crowd because of their convictions.”

David Chapman, a Bermudian science educator and environmental scientists, spoke from Britain.

Dr Chapman asked: “Do we as a society, in particular a unique small island, highly densely populated, with extremely sensitive endemic habitats – do we adopt, carte blanche, technologies that have been developed for a different set of societal and geographic parameters?”

Frank Clegg, the former president of Microsoft in Canada, linked 5G to increased cancer risk, reproductive harm and DNA damage.

He added: “Distance is your friend. Create a safe haven where you sleep and rest. Keep devices away from you when you sleep.”

He maintained that wire cables were more secure, and did not emit radiation.

Devra Davis, founder of the American group Environmental Health Trust, said damage from the frequencies of 5G extended to trees and insect life.

She said: “The biggest improvement you could make for your island is to go with fibre-optic cable.”

Ayesha Peets Talbot, a paediatrician, said she was particularly concerned about the effect of radiation on children.

She said she had noticed distress in her young daughter that vanished when her family went on a retreat where there was “no wi-fi at all”.

Dr Peets Talbot recommended that Bermudians push for limits on wi-fi use in schools, and opt for wired internet over wireless technology.

Paul Héroux, a Canadian scientist, questioned the use of 5G for Bermuda, calling it “an engineering dream that is being forced on you, to force you to buy a new phone next year”.

Dr Héroux said its deployment would mean “much more radiation exposure”, which he claimed had an impact on chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

He added: “In my opinion, 5G has nothing to offer Bermuda.”

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Published November 19, 2020 at 9:21 am (Updated November 19, 2020 at 9:19 am)

5G opponents raise environmental fears

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